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Udacity's new flying cars and aerial robotics nanodegree program

Course instructors for the program include Google self-driving car pioneer Sebastian Thrun, who has a piloted drone startup called Kitty Hawk.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   29-01-2018
Udacity's new flying cars and aerial robotics nanodegree program

Udacity, a Silicon Valley-based online course provider, is opening applications in February for its “flying car nanodegree programme” which gives students the opportunity to develop flight software engineering skills, while learning about flying car systems and drone robotics.
 
The biggest draw is that the course is the brainchild of former Stanford University professor Sebastian Thrun, who once led Google’s high-profile self-driving car project.
 
“You’ll master technologies in planning, controls, coordination, and more. Most importantly, you will learn by doing, writing aircraft-ready code that you can run on your own drones,” the course notes explain.
 
The course is aimed at students who are interested in futuristic technologies: flying cars, drones, autonomous systems, and smart transportation. The course will take at least six months to complete with students taking two three-month terms online.
 
Thrun said his motivation in creating the flying-car nanodegree programme was similar to what drove the school's widely publicised self-driving car course.
 
"It's almost impossible to hire qualified people to design and engineer future vehicles — both terrestrial and aerial — that employ advanced technology, including robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning,” Thrun told US media.
 
The course requires substantial programming skills; Udacity says it can’t accept applicants who don’t yet have the necessary algebra, statistics, and physics skills to participate. Here is a list of prerequisites you need:
 

  • Knowledge of math including linear algebra and statistics and basic physics. 
  • Substantial experience programming in any language
  • Intermediate level programming experience in Python
  • Intermediate level programming experience in C++
  • Knowledge of Calculus (derivatives and integrals)
  • Probability and statistics (mean, variance, and probability distributions)
  • Basic Physics (basic mechanics including knowledge of kinematics, dynamics, and torque)

 
The US media reported that Thrun wants to get at least 10,000 applicants for the class, for which applications close on February 7.
 
Course instructors include Thrun himself, who has a startup called Kitty Hawk which makes one-person, piloted drones, like a lot of flying-car projects. The other instructors include University of Toronto aerial robotics Professor Angela Schoellig; Kiva Systems founder and ETH Zurich Professor Raffaello D’Andrea; and MIT Professor and Google Project Wing founder Nicholas Roy.
 

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